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  • In the troubled Balkans, we sat waiting for the next boat at a table in a cafe and a local street performer/beggar worked his way through a few others doing the same. He came to our table with his guitar and sang a song... He then held out his hand, and said something in Albanian. Amy looked at me and said “he wants ten bucks” Never asking for his performance, we tried nodding him off. He persisted, pointing at my guitar case. I noticed his guitar was short two strings. Amy and I debated the “right thing” to do. Looking for a creative solution to the circumstance, I pulled out my guitar and played a song. Tit for tat, we were even. We applauded each other. I began packing up my guitar happy with the turn of events. As I packed it, I pulled out a new set of strings and offered it to him. He was elated... He kept looking and asking 6? 6? I assured him, all six strings were there... He then asked for ten bucks. I left Albania literally minutes later... he was performing for the tourists getting on and off the boat to Brindisi. I returned two years later. He remembered me as I walked up the street; he showed me his guitar and held up his fingers “six, six!” he loudly gestured. His guitar had six strings. Stopping him before he could play a song, I gave him ten bucks, then listened to him sing and play.
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